In September 2015, Lake Orion, Michigan, racer Tom Bailey reaffirmed his reputation within drag racing’s fast street car genre by prevailing at what is arguably one of the most difficult tasks anywhere in drag racing: he won Hot Rod’s infamous Drag Week — Fastest Street Car in America trophy. Racing a totally creative turbocharged 1969 Camaro, Bailey prevailed in that grueling test, which crowns its victor based on both performances over the road and then at the dragstrip. Bailey won the competition that requires street-legal machines to successfully transit and negotiate over 1,200 highway miles and make runs at four different dragstrips during the weeklong event schedule. When Bailey prevailed it was the second time in his career he had done so. His previous win in 2013 had come in another version of a street-legal 1969 Camaro.
“Before we built this Camaro, I raced two other ’69 models,” Tom revealed. “The first was a more conventional Radial Tire car, but the second was more unconventional. This car is far beyond unconventional, but it’s also very much purpose built.”
Bailey’s newest Camaro project is certainly worth some microscopic attention. This expertly constructed car (by Skinny Kid Race Cars) is a creative machine that manages to effectively take the notions of both street legality and race craft creativity into uncharted waters. With its ultra-low-slung stance and front end stretched 9 inches in length, this Camaro is about as alien looking a beast as you could image.
Tipping the scales at 2,730 pounds, this twin-seated Camaro is equipped with a 615ci big-block Chevrolet engine built by Steve Morris Engines (Muskegon, Michigan). Equipped with twin Precision 88 turbochargers, this car is capable of producing in excess of 3,500 hp. With reliability and durability being at the forefront throughout the drivetrain, Tom has also selected a Rossler Turbo 400 three-speed transmission and a Strange Engineering rearend.
The car also features uniqueness to detail throughout. When travelling along the highway, it is possible to tune the car while in motion from within (usually done by co-pilot Steve Morris) who can make adjustments when needed (the car gets up to 13 mpg!). The Camaro has dual fuel tanks as well as fully functional carbon-fiber cup holders.
Built to be very versatile, and depending on a particular event’s venue, Tom can run 10.5 tires, drag radials, or slicks. Because of that, he plans to expand his racing horizons for the remainder of 2016.
While his primary season objective this year will be to hold off his competitors and successfully defend his Ironman-like Fastest Street Car in America title later this summer, he also plans to venture more into Pro Mod class competition. Tom will enter both NHRA quarter-mile and PDRA eighth-mile events.
“My best (career) run is a 6.30 e.t.,” Tom revealed. “But our objective is to get the car into the 5-second zone (quarter-mile) and into the 3.8 e.t.’s at some PDRA races.”
Tom Bailey funds his terrific racing operation from his very successful security systems business. In addition to his crew chief Steve Morris, his valued crew also includes his son Aydan, Kyle Morris, and Rick Johnson.